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Cost of new school put at nearly $20 million

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Building a consolidated Collinsville Primary/John Redd Smith school would cost nearly $20 million, according to an architect’s study.

Moseley Architects’ recent capital improvements study for Henry County Public Schools estimates the school would cost $15.29 million for new construction, plus nearly $4.3 million in other expenses, for a total estimated cost of $19,584,745.

Shifting five special-needs classrooms from Stanleytown Elementary to the new school, as recommended by the architect, would increase the total estimated project cost to $21,186,587, according to the report and Keith Scott, the school division’s supervisor of facilities.

That proposal would provide new space at the consolidated school to address the needs of the special needs students at Stanleytown Elementary, and it would free up space at Stanleytown Elementary so that modular buildings there could be eliminated, according to the report and Scott.

One scenario is for the new school to be built between John Redd Smith and Collinsville Primary, which are near each other on a total of 9.8 acres, according to the capital improvements study and school division officials.

That could require a lot of grading because there is a 16-foot change in topography, according to the study and Scott.

“Alternative sites should be investigated to compare costs. Alternative sites for a new school could allow for existing schools to be used for other programs/purposes,” the capital needs study stated.

The $21 million figure does not include land acquisition costs.

Moseley Architects has recommended that an alternative site have 15-20 acres, said Bill Bullins, the school division’s assistant superintendent for operations and administrative services.

Schools Superintendent Jared Cotton told the board of supervisors in January that he would compile a list of potential construction sites in the Collinsville District and investigate the real estate value of John Redd Smith Elementary and Collinsville Primary.

Cotton said he favors a combined school for Collinsville Primary and John Redd Smith Elementary.

“It would provide an opportunity to upgrade the facility for all grade levels served at both schools. There would also be ongoing savings that would result from operating as one school vs. two” with utility and staffing costs, Cotton stated.

He also said he would recommend building on an alternate site. “The current site is limited in space, and construction on the current site would create challenges for both schools. This area is already congested and students would have limited access to play areas during the construction months. In addition, building on the current site would require demolition of both existing schools,” he said.

Collinsville Primary potentially could be used for an alternate purpose, but that would have to be studied further to determine whether this is “a feasible or cost-effective measure,” Cotton said.

At its recent planning session, the board of supervisors included, in its list of priorities for the coming year, deciding how to proceed with school consolidation in the Collinsville District.


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